Ur Draugr - The Wretched Ascetic
Progressive Blackened Death Metal
3 songs (20:01)
Release year: 2015
Ur Draugr
Reviewed by Goat
Surprise of the month

Life, to coin a phrase, can be shit. Aussie trio Ur Draugr were excitedly preparing for the release of their début full-length in December of last year when a hardware failure wiped out nearly all their work. Recovering a few tracks, the band have made their début release an EP instead of an album, and are busy writing a new album, to be released later this year. And if the three tracks here are any indication, not only do you feel the tragic loss of the first album, but the anticipation for the second album is increased. Playing a progressive form of blackened death metal which can go from sounding like Behemoth gone tech-death to folky musings a la Agalloch at the snap of a finger, the intriguing cover art suggests a band walking their own, chaotic path, and The Wretched Ascetic bears this out.

Opener Unseen Golgotha kicks off with lush acoustic guitar (the production on this EP is terrific) soon adding roaring vocals and crushing riffs as the track slips into black metal. The backing drumming especially is impressive, far beyond typical blasting but forming more of a jazzy backdrop to the music, said jazziness progressing with the track. After a false ending and the track descends into madness, tech-death rhythms battering you alternatively with folky strums before returning to blackened speed for an epic ending. Impressive already, and the best of the EP hasn't even arrived!

It's not far away, however; the ten-minute title track soon kicks in, beginning in similar fashion to before but with almost industrial bursts of noise. Slipping back into bass and drums, the track richochets around, bursts of riffage erupting and building into an atmospheric tower, collapsing as the track turns to a proggy instrumental section before restarting. It's completely unpredictable, chaotic as hell, but feeling strangely structured, and having a curious tech-thrash bent that makes each crushing riff enjoyable – something like Deathspell Omega but focused on death metal more than black.

Sombre Moribund, the closing track, is more of an outro piece than a song in its own right, but it's lovely after the previous track's chaos, melancholic acoustic guitar with strange, distant growls and roars making for an unsettling effect. It leaves you wanting more, and sets the scene for an album of the year status if their oncoming full-length is as good as this. The EP is available to hear and buy from the Bandcamp link above – keep an eye on these guys.

Killing Songs :
Unseen Golgotha, The Wretched Ascetic
Goat quoted no quote
Other albums by Ur Draugr that we have reviewed:
Ur Draugr - With Hunger Undying reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
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